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A Business Traveler's Convenience



As the taxi streams down the expressway, Shane Holmes sinks into the plush leather seat and scans the skyline.

Maybe Phoenix?“Switch on light oldies, would you?”

“Yessir.”

The car is thick with sweet, chemical air freshener. He lowers his window. A dry, hot air blasts his face.

Probably Phoenix.

After checking in, he tosses his bag and key card on one of the beds and clicks the remote. The news anchors’ familiar voices soothe his nerves, like a babbling brook.

He collapses in the pile of pillows, kicks off his shoes, and rubs the arch under his dress sock.

His wrist tires quickly. Why is he rubbing his own feet?

He scrolls through his contacts to Ashley Phoenix.

But is it Phoenix?

A quick widget check reveals it’s Dallas.

“Huh.” He chuckles and shakes his head. “Whatever.”

He looks off through the hazy expanse of parking lots and strip malls beyond the sheer curtains as he waits for Ashley Dallas to answer.

But then he hangs up. He opens the app instead and swipes through the list of features for the Pro plan: 24/7 customer support, up to four additional personality adjustments, three additional DNA samples.

He could grab a drink with Dean, Nels, and Brian in any city.

He makes the plunge and hits “upgrade.” The change won’t take effect until after the 30-day incubation period, but he smiles to himself and rubs his belly. It’s the right decision.

Then Brenda pops into his mind. His smile fades. She expects a call about now. She’ll want him to say goodnight to Dexter.

He hovers over the call button, but then decides to call tomorrow. He’ tell her he got in late and didn’t want to wake them.

He calls Ashley instead.

“Hi, Shane.”

“Hey. I’m in town.”

“I’m still at work.”

“Where you working?”

“Olive Garden.”

He smirks. That’s her job everywhere.

“Meet me at the Hilton when you get off.”

Voices drone and and dishes clack as she hesitates.

“Sure. Alright.”

“What’s that, honey? Don’t think I heard you right.”

“Yes, Master.”

“That’s my girl. See you here.”


The faint squeak of the Holmes’ front door heralds Shane’s return. Brenda trots into the living room with her hands behind her back.

“How was your trip?”

“Fine.” He closes the door and drapes his suit bag over the back of the sofa.

She stands in front of him, smiling.

He notices the skin under her eyes. It’s wrinkled more than it used to be. But she’s still a looker.

“Don’t I get a hug?”

“Course. Sorry, sweetie.” He holds his arms out then squeezes her tightly.

“I love you, Shane Holmes.”

“Love you too.”

He breaks the embrace and catches her eye. She’s still smiling.

“What’s got into you?”

“I’ve got a surprise for you.”

“Oh, yeah? What?”

“You know how I miss you when you’re away, and how Dexter misses daddy.”

“Yeah.”

“Well, I got that clone app today.”

“Cloner?”

“That’s the one. I ordered one for Dexter and me for every city you travel to.” She bobs on her toes. “I paid extra for the acceleration process so they’ll be full grown by October, then we go right in for the mental transfer.”

Shane sits.

“Isn’t that great? It’ll be like you never leave home.”